The first announcement this year comes from the Latvian Botanical Society which has announced Thelypteris palustris (marsh fern) as the plant of the year 2023.
The Botanical Society told LETA that the marsh fern is in fact very common – so much so that in Latvian the name is common marsh fern – but people don't see it all that often. As the name suggests, it grows in damp and swampy places. Admittedly, even when Latvians go look for the famed flower of the fern at Midsummer (usually in couples), they prefer dryer spots.
There is little known about the marsh fern's benefits in folk medicine or food preparation, but apparently, it has the ability to soak up heavy metals, so experiments are being carried out with that, said the Botanical Society.
This year, Latvian botanists ask that you put on the rubber boots and go explore a bog or swamp or two. If you meet a marsh fern on the way, report your sighting on nature observation portal Dabasdati.lv. Write an e-mail to the Latvian Botanical Society ([email protected]) if information is known regarding the collection and application of this species in popular medicine, food, or other needs. If you happen to obtain experience with the flower of the fern, you are not required to make that public.